Saturday, August 07, 2010

1001 Islands

I know, it should be 1000 islands, but for the purposes of this blog I wanted to add one. And that one is Association Island, which is where we are presently camped.DSC_0418

The Association Island RV Resort and Marina is a 65 acre island in Lake Ontario, not too far from the eastern end of the lake near the mouth of the St. Lawrence Seaway and the 1000 islands. Association Island isn’t one of the 1000 islands, but since we’re on it, and since it’s near the 100o islands, while we’re here I like to think of it as 1001.

And it’s and island with a history. The following is from the RV resort’s web site: “The National Electric Lamp Association (NELA) bought the island in 1905 from private owners and named the property Association Island.  NELA started the tradition of using the island for the Association's management meetings.  In 1911, General Electric acquired NELA and further expanded NELA's tradition by using Association Island as a corporate retreat and training center for GE executives, customers, and employees through the 1950's.   On the property were a Town Hall, Dining Hall (with full staff of waitresses and housekeepers), Black Catte (snack bar),DSC_0424 Island House, bungalows, residential "huts", cottages, 9-hole golf course, recreational trap shooting, tennis court, and marina with boat transportation  to/from the island.

General Electric's use of Association Island has been the subject of many academic papers, and was even the inspiration for Kurt Vonnegut's first novel, Player Piano, in 1952.  In the novel, Vonnegut writes of an island called “The Meadows” to which all of the engineers and managers of a large corporation make an annual retreat, to reaffirm devotion to the system and to become a more productive workforce.  Vonnegut depicts what went on at corporate retreats in the 1940’s and 1950’s as a satire of old boys at summer camp, using GE’s Association Island as its model.

In 1959, GE donated the island to the YMCA which operated the facilities until 1967 as a recreation center.”DSC_0427 The island was later sold, and went through several owners and uses including as the training center for the US sailing team in the 1976 Olympics. The island is now owned by a family which has been rehabilitating the historic buildings and operating the site as a campground. 

Accessible by a private causeway or by boat, the campground provides views of the lake from virtually every camp site. DSC_0430  Association Island is probably unique as a campground. In all of our travels we have yet to find another that is on a private island with water views from everywhere. 

I’ll discuss the other 1000 islands in the next post.



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